It’s been a funny old month reading wise and at least two of my choices are books I should have read last year. MS affects my concentration so much and I think that inability to concentrate has definitely affected what I’ve chosen and what I’ve finished. There have been a few DNF’s this month, because I simply couldn’t get into the story or it didn’t hold my interest. I know these are books I’ll try again in a few months and possibly enjoy them so they’re never discarded, unless they’re the sort I’d rather throw out of the window, like Bradley Cooper in The Silver Linings Playbook. It’s no surprise to me that I’ve chosen a couple of books that are the latest in well loved series. I think we often turn to comfort reads when we feel unwell or low and being back with familiar characters was definitely soothing, even when they are crime thrillers. I also think it’s telling that all the books this month are thrillers, possibly because of the way they’re written and edited to pull you straight into the story and keep you turning the pages. There’s an addictive quality to a good thriller that seems to make it past my sluggish brain cells. Here’s to spring and hopefully some lighter nights and the garden coming alive will give us all a recharge. See you next month.
This was a proof I was sent last year and seemed to fall by the wayside, but I’m so glad I finally got the chance to pick it up! Set by the author in a community of foster homes in Scotland, this story was both compelling to read and fascinating psychologically. The author’s mother spent time in a real life version of a village just like this, something that piqued the author’s interest. It’s the perfect setting for a thriller precisely because this is a community set up to nurture children whose parents can’t take care of them and the thought that someone is stalking these vulnerable young women is terrible. In each cottage is a foster mother and father with several children, underpinned by a strict religious teaching from the church on site. They also have their own school, although our protagonist Lesley takes the bus early each morning and attends the nearby grammar school. Lesley is sharp and very good with patterns and numbers, emotionally she is most attached to her best friend Jonesey who has been in care alongside Lesley for as long as they can both remember. When a young woman is found murdered at the Homes it brings outside scrutiny, but also breeds fear and suspicion amongst the girls. As the police start their investigation, Lesley and Jonesey start one of their own and it soon becomes clear that not everything is as it seems in this community and in Lesley’s home. The intrigue and horror of the case is balanced nicely with getting to know Lesley’s story and how being placed in care affects children psychologically.
This is the latest in Elly Griffiths’s series based around archaeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway, who as well as teaching at the University of North Norfolk helps the police date and identify human remains. This story follows the pandemic and although some things have gone back to normal, there are lingering after effects from feeling anxious in close proximity to others to our favourite Druid Cathbad who is suffering long term symptoms of COVID. Ruth’s whole department is under threat from budget cuts and it’s while she’s waiting to hear the results of a review that she’s called to look at remains found in a café behind a wall. The café used to be The Green Man and it’s been closed for several years, but current renovations have unearthed a skeleton behind a wall. The remains are not ancient, so become the preserve of DI Nelson who opens an investigation. The bones belong to student Emily Pickering from Lincoln, who went missing approximately twenty years ago. She was a student of archaeology under professor Leo Ballard, so the team need to build a picture of others on the course and who she socialised with. Many threads take them back to a camping trip one evening near some ancient mine shafts. Everyone remembers some sort of ritual being performed and the sudden appearance of a horned creature from the woods, who terrified everyone. Other than the students and Leo Ballard, there was a familiar person present. Where rituals are being performed Cathbad is often close by, but when he goes missing too he becomes a missing person and a suspect. Personally, Ruth is at an intellectual and emotional crossroads. Still living on the salt marshes with daughter Kate and cat Flint, she is avoiding Nelson who is the father of Kate. His wife has left him, breaking the deadlock the three of them have been in and Nelson can often be found at the cottage overnight and on Saturdays when he drops by with pizza. She senses the big question coming ever closer, are they going to define their relationship and make it permanent? Or are Ruth’s other opportunities going to take her away from Norfolk?
This book was recommended to me by a fellow blogger and Squad Pod member Clare – The Fallen Librarian. It’s very hard to define, but combines elements of a thriller, fantasy and love story. Writer and bookseller Lily Albrecht has done more selling since her husband Abe was struck down by a mystery neurological illness that has seen him needing round the clock care. At a book fair in NYC she and friend Lucas are told about a secret client looking for a 17th Century book that’s supposed to be transformative for anyone who follows it’s advice. The Book of the Most Precious Substance is reported to be magical, if the reader anoints the book’s magical symbol with various signs of arousal a magical reaction occurs. Completing the steps can give the reader the thing they most desire. Lily and Lucas obtain the magical symbol and begin a geographical search for the book and the collector who is willing to pay millions for it. It’s a journey of five star hotels, strange eccentric millionaires and sexual discovery, but will either of them get what they want most? This is a brilliant page turner, with magical elements and real emotional depth.
I only reviewed this a couple of days ago, so I won’t give a full review here just a quick blurb. DS Grace is mourning the loss of his son Leo in a traffic accident, but the cases don’t stop coming and when a cold case links to a new incident Roy takes the case. Harry and Freya Kipling find a painting at a car boot sale that’s horrible, but Harry loves the frame. However when they discover a different painting underneath they decide to take it to the Antiques Roadshow. As soon as the show airs things start to happen, because in a chance of a lifetime it turns out that the painting could be a Fragonard, the missing Spring in his series on the four seasons. The couple are broken into but nothing is taken and when a body turns up outside a renowned forger’s house Roy believes the two things are linked. It’s surprising how far collectors will go to complete their collections, even as far as murder. This is an interesting and heart-stopping addition to the brilliant Grace series.
So that’s all for February. It’s a really busy March with lots of fantastic new releases and blog tours. Below is my TBR for the coming month. See you then. ❤️📚